Will Williams’ Guide to Bringing Your Amiga Online

Getting a classic Amiga online is a problematic task, hardware is limited, TCP/IP Stacks need to be configured and internet/HTTP applications are old and not so well supported. This article is a brief setup guide and product review specific to the A2000 (or A1500 if you’re in the UK) but could be applicable to other classic models as well.

The connection options I am aware of for the A2000 are:

1). X-surf Zorro II ethernet card.

2). The plipbox parallel adaptor

3). Good old fashion dial up modem.

Option 2 seemed to be the cheapest yet reasonably fastest route to freeing the Miggy to the Internet. The Plipbox is an Arduino based device and is basically a bridge between the parallel port on the amiga and your home network router. The prototype and firmware were developed by Lallafa (http://lallafa.de/blog/amiga-projects/plipbox/) but there are a number of makers building and selling this device on Amibay and eBay, the Plipbox used on this Amiga came prebuilt and flashed from a seller on eBay.

Getting your Amiga to recognize the device is fairly easy, the instructions in the readme on git hub are detailed and easy to understand (https://github.com/cnvogelg/plipbox/blob/master/doc/src/amiga.md).

The short version of the process is as follows:

Select the device driver appropriate to your machine speed, remove the file name extension up to the .device and drop it into your devs:network folder. From there we let the TCP/IP stack finish the configuration. One REALLY important note for A2000/A2500/A1500 users is: The latest drivers (0.6) will not work on your machines, you will need to role back to the 0.5 version, you will only need to use the 0.5 plipbox.device drivers, you will not have to reflash your prebuilt Arduino adaptor. I found this the hard way after many hours or banging my head on the keyboard, I could see traffic going out from the Amiga’s IP but nothing returning.

The TCP/IP stack that was chosen was MiamiDX, the full version is free now. The .lha’s can be found on http://aminet.net/package/comm/tcp/MiamiDx10cmain and you will need MUI 3.8 http://aminet.net/package/comm/tcp/MiamiDx10c-MUI. The keys have been publicly released too: http://www.mikeslab.net/?page_id=85 (as are the keys for MUI).

One note from experience about setting up the network on MiamiDX, DCHP doesn’t work so well and the safest route is to setup your connection as static.

Again the instructions on the amiga setup page on github should guide you through the process. In addition to setting the DNS servers to my router, I also included for safe measure Google’s public DNS server: 8.8.8.8. You can specify as many DNS locations as you wish under the Databases/DNS tab. An example of the setup used is:

Amiga’s IP: 192.168.0.20 //? I choose 20 because it’s reasonably out of range of machines on my network that DHCP might assign to.

Subnet: 255.255.255.0

gateway: 192.168.0.1 // ? This is you home router’s IP, you can also use this address as the DNS server under the Databases tab.

Finally to check if everything is working, in shell navigate to MiamiDX’s install folder and run: ping 192.168.0.1 (or whatever your routers IP is), you should get a return time on your pings.

Lastly, I choose to use iBrowse to get onto the WWW, I don’t think it has much in the way off CSS support and limited JS but of all the options available it works well enough to get you onto download sites and downloading new software.

Overall, the Plipbox works well, I can get about 50kb/sec, it’s a but slower than a X-surf card but about $50 cheaper and about 10x faster than dialup.

Good luck and have fun!

2 thoughts on “Will Williams’ Guide to Bringing Your Amiga Online

Leave a Reply